You probably know by now that June is being celebrated as LGBTQ Pride Month. The purpose of the month is to celebrate and promote the LGBTQ culture, to recognize the Stonewall riots that happened in 1969, and to acknowledge the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on local, national, and international history and culture. Have LGBTQ individuals made significant contributions to our society? Undoubtedly.

Let me state at the outset that I have no animosity towards members of the LGBTQ community. I’ve said it before, but will restate that I have close friends who identify as LGBTQ and I love them dearly. As you might imagine, we don’t talk politics too often, but that’s ok with all of us. If those who identify as LGBTQ want to celebrate their lifestyle, they are certainly entitled to do so, given the freedoms in our country. However, there is a larger issue I want to address: our country’s transformation that has led us to Pride Month.

For those of us who have lived a few decades, we have the benefit of hindsight. While it’s not always the 20/20 it’s purported to be, it does often help put things in perspective and give insights not readily observed when things happen in real time.

In the 1980s, the LGBTQ movement came out of the shadows in many ways as something that needed to be recognized, whether one agreed with it or not. Americans were asked implicitly and sometimes explicitly to accept that the LGBTQ community was part of society, and Americans did, under the premise of pluralism and the freedoms embodied in our country’s foundational beliefs (which are rooted in Christian thought, by the way).

As time moved along, the focus shifted. During the latter ‘80s and early ‘90s the topic became HIV/AIDS. Disproportionately affecting those who identified as LGBTQ, due to lifestyle choices, the disease ravaged the community and Americans were soon forced to focus on a cure for this disease. While HIV/AIDS certainly did put the LGBTQ identity in the spotlight, it also engendered much research, medical attention, and eventually some level of empathy for those suffering from the disease.

There were also high-profile cases such as tennis player Arthur Ashe and Ryan White who contracted HIV from blood transfusions, highlighting that nobody was entirely protected from the disease. As a result of all these factors, our country moved from acceptance to the beginnings of empathy for the LGBTQ community.

In the 1990s, we also started to see Hollywood stars and other high profile individuals such as Ellen DeGeneres, George Michael, Melissa Etheridge, and Tammy Baldwin, the first openly lesbian candidate ever elected to Congress, come out as gay or lesbian. The dialogue moved from advocating for medical care and empathy for those who identified as LGBTQ, to advocating for tolerance and equal rights. LGBTQ advocates stated they only wanted to be treated the same as everyone else, not as an abnormal part of society.

In the 21st century things have changed considerably. More high-profile individuals have come out as LGBTQ and more groups have surfaced to advocate for their cause. The LGBTQ movement has successfully taken over the debate terminology (e.g., you are cisgender, not simply male or female; we’ve all adopted LGBTQ, not LGBT), the media have become loud advocates for the LGBTQ cause, and businesses have been shamed into jumping on the bandwagon and virtue signaling they are not only nondiscriminatory, but sometimes nauseatingly promoting of the LGBTQ lifestyle.

Those who wish to speak out against anything having to do with LGBTQ values are labeled homophobic, ignorant, or part of a hate group and are shamed by the media. The entertainment industry is bending over backwards to show how inclusive and accepting they are. In broadcast television, roughly 10.2% of all regular expected series characters identify as LGBT. For movies, the LGBT percentage has ranged from 14%-17% in recent years, with the percentage rising each year. That said, LGBT-identifying Americans comprise only 5.6 percent of the American public, per a recent Gallup poll. Agenda, you think?

We are now at a point where the federal government, as well as some other levels of government, actively promote and enforce the advancement of the gay and lesbian identity. Schools are being required to teach LGBTQ curriculum to kindergartners. The Biden Administration has indicated that boys identifying as transgender girls will be allowed to compete on girls’ athletic teams. And the list goes on.

My point in all this is not to provide a history lesson of the LGBTQ movement, but to show the transformation of thought and practice that has slowly and almost imperceptibly occurred over the past few decades. Our country and its value system have been led from acceptance to empathy to normalization to forced promotion of the LGBTQ lifestyle. And that’s how we’ve gotten to today’s celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month.

We have been asleep at the wheel. While the American people generally try to be accepting, our country has been led down a path where more and more demands are placed on you and your family by the LGBTQ cause – demands that now or very soon will violate your values and beliefs.

So, back to LGBTQ Pride Month. Am I going to attend this year’s Pride events here in Bismarck, such as the one scheduled for Saturday at the Capitol? No, I do not want to further normalize something that is actively trying to eradicate your and my values. I do not want to legitimize today’s social intimidation and contempt for traditional values that have led to such an event. I may have no issue with the LGBTQ community celebrating its achievements, but when their agenda comes at the cost of those of us with biblical beliefs and our religious freedoms, I do have a problem. Thanks for listening.

For truth,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

You may not have realized it, but June is LGBT Pride Month, designed to recognize the impact LGBT people have had in the world and celebrate their cause. In my city of Bismarck, Dakota Outright, a group that advances LGBT issues, organized several activities this past weekend as part of the local Capital Pride event. They offered vendors, music, a riverboat cruise, and a “Dakota Divas Spectacular”.

As you may imagine, my initial reaction was less than enthusiastic, given my beliefs and values. KFYR-TV reported that Jonathan Frye, Dakota Outright Secretary, stated, “We deserve as many human rights and protections as everybody else because we’re here and we’re present. So we want people to know that yes we do exist, and yes we do need protections, and yes we are people.”  My reaction was that the LGBT community does have the same protections you and I have; what we are opposed to is “special protections”.

I also read a myNDnow.com article which reported that Lisa Loar from Jamestown spoke to a roomful of people and remarked, “We live a life with the hetero-normative so much and there’s nothing wrong with it, but sometimes we just need to back off and be somewhere where we’re the dominant culture in a sense.” I found that a bit foreboding.

To round out the weekend, a service was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church. At the service, “All of the speakers shared stories of when they didn’t feel welcome, especially in a faith-based environment.”  That part saddened me.

Over the years, I have known gay individuals who I would consider some of my best friends. We’ve had lively debates about the LGBT issue, agreed on almost nothing, but have remained friends nevertheless. Why?  Because we loved the other person for who they were: a creature created in God’s image with inherent worth and dignity. Yes, I continually pray that they may see that their lifestyle is counter to how God created each of us.  However, I also pray for God’s blessing on their lives and for them to know true peace and love. I pray for their families. I pray that if it be God’s will, they can see that our Savior’s message, while never compromising on biblical truths, is one of accepting all into His fold.

So, I extend an invitation to my LGBT brethren. Let’s talk over coffee sometime. I don’t want to spend the whole time debating the LGBT movement and our opposing viewpoints. I suggest we also talk about the Vikings, your pets, how muggy the weather has been this summer, or our shared frustrations with road construction – whatever you want to discuss. As with my closest friends who are gay, I suspect we will agree on almost nothing related to the LGBT movement, but that’s no reason I can’t buy you a latte and perhaps start a friendship.

Sincerely,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director